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Hospital nurse steals epidural medication from women during labor to use for herself

By Mason White 3:37 PM May 12, 2017
Woman in labor (illustration)
Woman in labor (illustration)
By: Emily Lewis

A hospital nurse put women in labor at risk by stealing their pain reliever medication in order to feed her drug addiction, according to police in Scotland.

Now, the woman who took epidural medicine meant for pregnant women in her care has been sentenced.

Caroline Heap, 41, was working as a staff nurse on the Maternity Unit at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

Over a period of several months, Heap used syringes to withdraw medicine from sealed intravenous bags for her own use.

Heap of Glenrothes, was subsequently charged with culpable and reckless conduct, and she pleaded guilty at the Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

She has now received a sentence of 250 hours of community service to be completed within 12 months.

Detective Inspector Graeme Dursley of Kirkcaldy CID said: “Heap risked the contamination of sterile medicine and her actions were completely inexcusable.

“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to staff at the Victoria Hospital for their vigilance in detecting and reporting this, as well as NHS Fife for their support.”

Director of Nursing at NHS Fife, Helen Wright, said: “This was a serious breach of the professional standards we expect of our staff.

“Patient safety is of the utmost importance and we are constantly reviewing our systems and processes to ensure patients receive safe care of the highest quality.

“Since this incident came to light we have subjected existing procedures around controlled drugs to further review, taking the opportunity to tighten up protocols.”